I started reading comics from the small store across from my home in Grants Lick, Ky. The owner would take the newsstand issues that didn't sell and cut half the cover off then sell the comics for 15 cents. A bargain for a 8 year old in the mid 70s. We moved to Florida in 1979 and I took my collection of half covered comics and my brothers hand me downs and spent a few years buying beat up 20 cent issues from the local used book store.
In 1982 at the age of 14 I met Larry Martin who taught me that condition is a good part of what makes older comics valuable and gave me a solid foundation for understanding comic books. Larry owned a small comic booth at the Auburndale flea market and when he decided to close up shop I talked him into letting me run the booth. M & M comics was born… Shortly after we started, Larry sold me the entire stock and I went into business for myself. I continued to run M & M for a short time selling only back issues then sold the remaining stock to the used book store.
I kept the Spider-Man and X-Men comics and that became the core of my collection. I collected mainly at Circle K and other small newsstands for the next few years branching into other titles. Not having transportation to any direct market stores I was at the mercy of a very limited selection. I did the normal kid thing and worked here and there, even a short time at the Mall Twin movie theater. In 1986 I took my collection to AABs Comics in Winter Haven to sell for a little bit of spending cash but decided to keep my collection. From that day I started buying like a mad man. By 1990 I had collected back to the stock level I had at M & M and wanted to open a brick and mortar store. With help from my brother in law I opened Downtown Comics on Central Avenue in Winter Haven on Oct 15th 1991. Downtown only carried comics for the first 6 months but the demand for games came in and we quickly adapted. Downtown was busting at the seams and moved from its original location to a larger location in 93 and again in 95. In 2000 Downtown had to move to its 4th location on Central Avenue and quickly became one of the top selling Games Workshop in the state.
In 2003 Downtown became an affiliate of Coliseum of Comics in Orlando Florida. With the combined power of the chain things were looking really good for the future. We expanded into more trade paperbacks and a larger selection of Statues.
Late in 2003 my wife was given an opportunity to open a psychology practice in North Carolina so Downtown was sold in April 2004 to Frank Adams, a long time customer. In 2007 Downtown was purchased by the Coliseum chain and has moved to Lakeland. Go by and check it out if you're ever in Lakeland.
The Idea for Parker Banner Kent and Wayne came around before I sold Downtown. I knew when I moved to NC that I would not be able to let the comics out of my system. Originally the name would be Parker Kent Murdock and Wayne but it didn't seem to flow as well for me… and Matt Murdock was already in a law firm. The name is long… it doesn't scream comics and games… but you can see it in the eyes when the name clicks and all falls into place.